Detection of glucosamine as a marker for Aspergillus niger: a potential screening method for fungal infections
Anal Bioanal Chem. 2021 Feb 22. doi: 10.1007/s00216-021-03225-7. Online ahead of print.
Several species of fungus from the genus Aspergillus are implicated in pulmonary infections in immunocompromised patients. Broad screening methods for fungal infections are desirable, as cultures require a considerable amount of time to provide results. Herein, we developed degradation and detection methods to produce and detect D-glucosamine (GlcN) from Aspergillus niger, a species of filamentous fungus. Ultimately, these techniques hold the potential to contribute to the diagnosis of pulmonary fungal infections in immunocompromised patients. In the following studies, we produced GlcN from fungal-derived chitin to serve as a marker for Aspergillus niger. To accomplish this, A. niger cells were lysed and subjected to a hydrochloric acid degradation protocol. Products were isolated, reconstituted in aqueous solutions, and analyzed using hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography (HILIC) in tandem with electrospray ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Our results indicated that GlcN was produced from A. niger. To validate these results, products obtained via fungal degradation were compared to products obtained from the degradation of two chitin polymers. The observed retention times and mass spectral extractions provided a two-step validation confirming that GlcN was produced from fungal-derived chitin. Our studies qualitatively illustrate that GlcN can be produced from A. niger; applying these methods to a more diverse range of fungi offers the potential to render a broad screening method for fungal detection pertinent to diagnosis of fungal infections.